According to sources of Engadget, AT&T is looking to beat Verizon to the VoLTE (Voice over LTE) punch. Both companies have been building up their LTE networks in America over the past couple of years, with each being essentially done with the initial process.
From what sources state, AT&T is ready to flip the VoLTE switch, with the service being turned on in two markets, Chicago and Minneapolis, on May 23. A separate report out of GigaOm stated back in March that AT&T had also lit up its first LTE-Advanced markets, with the Galaxy S5 being the first publicly available phone capable of handling the new speeds.
With VoLTE, your device is using an LTE data connection to make and receive calls, instead of using 2G/3G towers. This service lightens the load on carriers’ towers, and should even benefit users’ device’s battery performance thanks to increased power efficiency.
The only true setback with VoLTE going live, is that most devices in the wild today are not-yet compatible. Either a device will need an OTA update to turn the feature on, or customers will need to purchase a new handset that comes equipped with the feature. Over the course of this year and next year especially, we will more than likely see an influx in marketing towards devices that are VoLTE compatible, with the upcoming ASUS Padfone X from AT&T already being one of them.
Further rollout plans beyond Chicago and Minneapolis are limited, but when more markets are made available after these two, you can be sure that AT&T will announce them.